In the most dramatic change to the Internet in four decades, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is giving the world the opportunity to create new domain extensions. It’s become clear that the existing generic global top-level domain names won’t be sufficient to support the rapidly expanding Web.
This monumental decision that has taken 6 years to pass will revolutionise the way consumers use the Internet and gives brands, industries and communities the chance to further develop their online marketing ability. So what’s it all about? …
Currently there are 22 gTLDS, the most familiar of these are .com, .net, .org and .info. With the new plan, domain names will soon end with almost any word and be in any language.
You can expect new domain extensions like, .film, .hotel or .site; but the question is: who will own this web space and what application restrictions will apply? There’s a lot of speculation, but the reality is that the details of restrictions for all the new top-level domains are not yet available, and although we can expect the more generic and commercially obvious extensions to become available on the open market, others will stay closed.
While some new TLD’s with broad appeal will be opened up to the general population, we can also expect large corporations with the right financial reserves and brand presence to create exclusive extensions just to house their online brand. Media corporations, international consumer brands and financial services giants have the resources available to operate their own domain space. Therefore, we can expect a dramatic change in the way consumers find online content using domain names over the next few years.
Does this mean that the internet will now be flooded with new domains? Or will this simply enhance the dominance of larger brands? No-one can predict exactly where this decision will take us, but there are definite benefits provided by these new domains:
- a trusted and secure namespace and new domains exclusively for brands, industries and communities, such as .eco and .hotel
- valuable domain names related to products and services, which help gain better search engine rankings
- better organised online network and more effective online marketing
- domains that will provide the home for the global identity for industries.
However, there are also significant technical requirements and costs involved, with applying and acquiring a new gTLD. Organisations will need to be able to not only purchase the gTLD but also maintain and operate the domains once they are available. Companies must therefore familiarise themselves with these requirements if they wish to pursue this opportunity.
While there is some concern surrounding the costs of acquiring and running a gTLD program, there is a definite focus on general economic stimulus. It means that, as the new processes will require new resources to apply for, manage and operate these domains, more skilled jobs are likely to be produced. Moreover, companies that do not exist today will come into existence, and they will need employees, and companies that have been treading water since the program was first announced will be able to start hiring.
Are we headed for an online revolution? …. What do you think?